Edward Stein

in Without Good Reason

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237730
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679520 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy


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In the context of the debate between the rationality thesis and the irrationality thesis, the question is about whether humans have the normative principles of reasoning in their reasoning competence. Given this, it was not clear whether empirical considerations are relevant to epistemology. As the book argued, the norms of grammaticality are indexed to actual linguistic competence. If we figure out what human linguistic competence is, we will thereby figure out what the normative principles of language are. The empirical inquiry of linguistics is thus relevant to determining the normative principles of language. The full resources of an advanced cognitive science are required to produce an account of human reasoning competence. Even if we know what is required for humans to be rational, to determine whether humans are in fact rational we need to know more than we do about, for example, human reasoning behaviour, human neurophysiology, and human evolution.

Keywords: rationality; irrationality; reasoning; normative principles; reasoning competence; linguistic competence; cognitive science; evolution; epistemology; grammaticality

Chapter.  4871 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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